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FCC Invests More in Rural Broadband

The FCC has authorized its 12th tranche of broadband buildout funding from its 2018 CAF II auction. 

That was funding for buildouts to uneconomic, mostly rural, areas that incumbent providers did not bid for in the CAF I auction. It was then made available to competitive carriers, including cable broadband providers, in a second auction. 

Related: Public Knowledge Says Government Should Allow Overbuilding

The latest round of funding is $7.5 million to get broadband to 3,100 unserved rural homes and businesses in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, and Oklahoma. The providers must build out to 40% of their respective chunk of those households within three years, and to all of them by year six. 

“The FCC’s Connect America Fund is delivering real value at a critical time for our nation, particularly to those living in unconnected rural areas," said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.  

Getting everyone connected given a shelter-at-home pandemic whose end point is not yet in sight and which may represent an inflection point for virtual connections far into the future is a big priority for the FCC, the Trump Administration and the Congress.